Tuesday night was a special night for youth football players in Lafayette, Louisiana, as they got to meet one of their heroes in New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees who came to talk to some of the teams with the Lafayette league of Football ‘N’ America. When you look at Brees’ career trajectory, it’s safe to say that this is him and his love of football coming full circle.
“I got to playing tackle football was through flag.” Brees said during his time with the media on Tuesday, “I played flag football for three years and then didn’t play tackle until my 9th-grade year, but I was equipped and ready because of the lessons and repetitions and skills that I developed from playing flag.”
Football ‘N’ America, a flag football organization that he has helped develop young athletes throughout the country, is expanding by leaps and bounds in the last two years just in the state of Louisiana. There are even plans for expansion in Brees’ home state of Texas. “Here we are two years later, we’re probably going to have 12 leagues in Louisiana which is pretty awesome.” Brees said, “Just to know that it’s expanding throughout the state and everyone is just enjoying playing it is amazing to see.”
The organization is fully inclusive and co-ed for kids from kindergarten-to-eighth grade and there’s something special about this league according to the veteran quarterback.
“I feel like we’re creating something really cool.” Brees mentioned, “I see a ton of girls out there playing it that otherwise might not have the chance to play or are too intimidated to try and go play.”
The best part about this youth league has to be the fact that it could help some kids that want to transition to tackle football when they begin high school with Brees saying that they try to structure the rules and the setting to make it to where it’s an easy transition. However, with a lot of the concussion issues at all levels of football, some might not make that transition.
“Many of the kids who play in our leagues will probably never play tackle and that’s great instead of them never having a chance to play the game or be exposed to it and develop a love and passion for it because there wasn’t an option.” Brees said, “ I feel like we’re providing kids with the opportunity to play football in a fun, safe, family-friendly environment because it’s just as much about creating a family experience as it is about these kids having a great time playing.”
When it comes to Brees’ career coming full circle with this organization he broke that down to three different angles.
”I played flag football so I know what the experience was like for me, I know how it helped prepare me to play football.” Brees said,” Number two, I’m a parent of kids that love football, are die-hard and want to play. If there wasn’t a good flag football option they wouldn’t have the chance to play in an organized fashion. I’ve seen them grow by leaps and bounds just from playing this game. Finally, I come at it from a coaching perspective, every kid I coach I treat the same as my own child. I love them the same and I discipline just like I would mine.
“At the end of the day, I think that’s part of your responsibility as a coach to develop these kids, help build their self-esteem, build confidence, and teach them a skill set. We’re also teaching them all the things that come with sports; you win some and it’s how do we handle success, and then you lose some and it’s how do you handle adversity? It’s great to have the opportunity to impart that on these kids.”
Want more information about Football ‘N’ America and how to sign your kid with the Lafayette league? Click here to check it out.